New York NFL teams are used to being the center of attention on NFL draft night. They have combined for five top-5 selections in the last four drafts, thanks in large part to some uninspiring regular season finishes. This year, they are doubly front and center.
The Jets and Giants each have two picks in the top 10: the Jets at No. 4 and No. 10, and the Giants at No. 5 and No. 7, giving them excellent opportunities to restock rosters that have been depleted by years of haphazard drafting and perpetual rebuilding. Both teams enter the draft with a total of nine picks to address their top roster needs.
Both teams are unlikely to use a first-round pick on a quarterback this year. The Jets drafted Zach Wilson No. 2 overall last year, and the Giants have expressed optimism about how starter Daniel Jones will play with a new head coach, although the team has decided not to pick up its fifth-year option. Away from the quarterback, both teams could go in many different directions.
At the top of the Jets’ list of needs are the edge rusher (a persistent search for this franchise), cornerback, and a No. 1 receiver. At the No. 4 pick, they should be able to sign one of the best edge rushers in the class or top corner Ahmad Gardner out of Cincinnati. One of this year’s best wide receivers should also be an option for the Jets at No. 10.
Jets general manager Joe Douglas has an additional second-round pick from last year’s trade of quarterback Sam Darnold to the Panthers, giving him four opportunities among the top 38 picks to add starting-caliber players.
One of the Giants’ most pressing needs is a bookend right tackle with left tackle Andrew Thomas, the fourth overall selection in 2020. Like the Jets, the Giants also have needs at the premium running back and cornerback positions. If available, Gardner would be a great option at either No. 5 or No. 7, and this year’s deep running back class means the Giants should be able to address that spot in the first round or later.
Joe Schoen, the Giants’ first-year general manager, inherited a bloated salary cap that left him almost no room to work with in free agency, but the additional first-round pick, acquired when the Giants traded up with the Bears in the 2021 draft. – was a welcome parting gift from his predecessor, Dave Gettleman.